Where are the Pelvic Floor Muscles?
The pelvic floor muscles are a group of muscles that are found at the bottom part of your pelvis. They are connected from your pubic bone to coccyx (tailbone) and from the two sit bones on either side of your pelvis.
Your pelvic floor muscles support your pelvic organs (bladder, bowel, uterus). They help to maintain continence and they provide the muscular contraction during an orgasm.
How to Contract your Pelvic Floor Muscles?
- If you have weak pelvic floor muscles (e.g., after childbirth or surgery) it is better to exercise in a lying position otherwise, it is ideal to exercise sitting or standing.
- Squeeze the muscle around your bottom and vagina and lift up and in.
- Imagine you are stopping the flow of urine, squeeze and lift
- Keep your buttocks and inner thighs relaxed
- Remember to keep breathing and not holding your breath a
- You should feel your pelvic floor drop when you relax
Am I doing them right?
1. The muscles that stop the flow of wee are the pelvic floor muscles. To test that you are doing your exercises correctly, try to stop the flow when you next go to the toilet. Only do this as a test and not as part of your exercise program.
2. Another way to test if you are activating properly is to insert 1 or 2 fingers into the vagina and contract your pelvic floor muscles. You should feel the muscles squeeze around your finger and a slight inward pull.
3. You can also check with a mirror and watch for your perineum (the bit of tissue between your vagina and anus), you should see your perineum draw up in.
How many should I do?
Find how long you are able to sustain a contraction for e.g. 2 seconds, how many times you can do it e.g., x 5. Take 60 sec to rest, repeat 1-3 times.
Remember to feel the release of the muscles. If they haven’t released, they might have already fatigued.
How to progress?
Once you are able to do a set of 10 x 10-second holds, you can then add 10 quick contractions to the end of your set – These contractions help prevent leakage when you cough or sneeze. Contractions should be done as quickly and as strongly as you can.
Once you are able to do 3 sets of 10 x 10 second holds, then add a long hold of up to 60 seconds to your program – This helps with endurance of your pelvic floor muscles, which is often needed if you have a full bladder and need to hold for a while before you get to a toilet.
When do I need help?
If you have any concerns completing pelvic floor exercises or if you are not sure if you are doing them correctly then a Pelvic Health Physiotherapist is a great place to start. Likewise; if you have any leakage when you cough, sneeze, run or lift, constantly need to go to the toilet, are unable to hold in wind, or want to assess to see if the pelvic floor is ready to start higher impact exercise. Book in to see one of our team to get you on the right path.